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Shareholder groups boycott SEC meeting over e-dividend payment

Some shareholder groups said that they boycotted a meeting called by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, to resolve issues on the e-dividend payment because they were not involved in the proposals. The groups told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that they were also aggrieved because the Commission failed to protect their interest during the downturn in the capital market.

NAN reports that the meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, May 14 in Abuja. The meeting was to brainstorm on ways to ensure the take off of e-dividend payment without hitches. Mr Boniface Okezie, President, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), told NAN that SEC failed to consult with the shareholders on the issue.

“We ought to have been consulted before SEC issued a circular on the e-dividend payment, which generated a lot of controversy,” Okezie said.

Sir Sunny Nwosu, National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), told NAN that traveling to Abuja would further deplete the resources of the association. Nwosu said that the association decided not to attend the meeting to avoid waste of funds.

Dr Farouk Umar, President, Association for Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, said that the Commission should improve on its communication strategy with shareholders. Umar said that the Commission failed to disclose the agenda of the meeting. NAN recalls that the Commission, in a statement on May 3rd, suspended its June 3 deadline for issuance of dividend warrants. The circular said that “consequent upon feedback received from various stakeholders, the deadline of Monday, June 3, 2013 for transitioning to e-dividend payment is postponed till further notice.”

It said that the postponement would enable the Commission to further enlighten retail investors and other investing public on the merits of e-dividend payment. SEC also urged listed companies and registrars to do all that were necessary to reduce the quantum of unclaimed dividends.


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